Sunday, December 27, 2009

Thai Fried Rice

With Christmas safely behind us, I needed to figure out what to do with the left over Christmas ham. Ham fried rice is a favorite around our house, but I thought I'd give it a Thailand twist. It was yummy. Even my wife was singing my praises for this one. The vegetables are cooked, but still crisp. creating an tantalizing texture difference between the soft rice, tender ham, and the lightly crunchy vegetables.

Fried rice recipes aren't only great for using left over meat, but also left over rice. In fact, they work better with day old cooked rice rather than fresh. The rice absorbs more of the flavors and liquids that way.

Equipment needed
Kitchen knife
Cutting board
Large wok or skillet
Spatula or Wok tools

4 cups cooked turmeric rice
1 cup cooked ham or pork, cubed or ground
1 jalapeño pepper, finely minced (optional)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped or 1/2 teaspoon dry ground ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 cups chopped mixed vegetables such as celery, bok choy, carrots, or bell peppers
3 eggs, beaten
3 green onions, thinly sliced
Parsley or mint leaves for garnish

Chop, cut, slice or otherwise prepare all the ingredients as noted above.

Heat oil in wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Heat ham or pork until it starts to brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

Re-heat the pan. Add more oil if needed and swirl the pan to coat sides. Add the onions, ginger, jalapeño (if using), and turmeric. Stir fry until the onions just start to get soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir fry for 2 minutes more.

Add the fish sauce and soy sauce. Mixing well. Stir in the vegetables and stir fry 3 to 4 more minutes, just until the vegetables are heated through and crisp tender. Add the rice and ham and cook until heated through.

Beat the eggs and add a small dash of salt. Push the rice mixture to the sides of the wok or skillet and pour the eggs into the center. Cook the eggs for 2 or 3 minutes more, lifting and stirring to scramble. It's okay if some of the rice mixture gets into the eggs. Once the eggs are cooked, but are still a bit glossy, stir the rice into them, and stir fry 1 or 2 minutes more.

Remove from the heat and stir in the green onions. Garnish as desired.

Serves 4.

This recipe feeds four people, but there are six of us. Seven if you count my teenage son's stomach as a separate entity. Be careful if you double it, though. You don't want to crowd the pan and there's plenty to crowd it with. I ended up making two separate batches.


Angenette said...

What kind of flavor does the turmeric have? I haven't wandered into that palate.

John Newman said...

Wow. How to describe turmeric. Hmm ... I'd say it's got an earthy, slightly bitter, slightly spicy flavor. It's a common ingredient in many South Asian and Middle Eastern dishes.